April 24, 2010

Sexuality and WET

WET is not a very sexy game.

Seriously, with a name like WET, and the B-movie vibe the whole game has going for it, you’d think there would be all kinds of sex. But seriously, it is one of the least sexy games I’ve played in recent memory. It might star a female protagonist, but Rubi is unsexualized, seemingly by design.

First, let’s just look at her design. Here’s a reference photo. On first glance, maybe she seems like a sexy female protagonist. But Rubi is a very dirty person. Perhaps less so in that picture, but in game, her clothes seem caked with dirt. It seems clear that she lives in the middle of a desert junkyard, and it seems like it’s been a long, long time since she washed her clothes. Additionally, and it may just be an issue with modeling of her in-game assets, but it seems like they are stuck to her as an outlet of how dirty they are. They’re a part of her, and she is a filthy person. Her hair, similarly, seems very matted and dirty in game. It’s just not appealing.

There is a scene in the game where she is stripped down to her panties and a t-shirt. If this game was sexy, she would play the level this way. Nay, she would relish playing the level this way. However, Rubi cannot wait to get clothed again. This sequence is maybe 5 minutes long, and she rushes to redress. During the sequence, she is being brutally tortured. There’s no sex appeal there.

There is a scene where Rubi is being hit on by an odd older lesbian. It’s very clear from her body language what she is doing, but Rubi has absolutely no reaction. It’s not one of revulsion, or not being into it, nor it is playing along or being excited. She simply has no reaction whatsoever to these come-ons. There’s no element of sexuality from her side of the scene.

Even her “witty” in-game clips aren’t sexy. I mean, the one that sticks out in my mind is “Say goodnight, Gracie.” I guess I just don’t connect sexiness with George Burns.

All the iconography on the game would seem to suggest that Rubi is sexy. Hell, even the title, which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual game in any way, would seem to suggest that the player is supposed to take that away from the game. But it’s just not there, and it confused me why it wasn’t. It would have fit in the world. Nobody would have batted an eye at it. Were they really trying to make Rubi an actual character, and building that in as a character trait? The mind boggles at the possibility.

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